By C.J. Bunce

Several stories have been reported across blogs and UK journals over the past few weeks about Matt Smith and Karen Gillan soon wrapping up their roles as the Doctor and his companion, Amy Pond.  So let’s wade through what appears to be fact and what appears to be rumor.

First of all, it will be a sad day when Matt Smith and Karen Gillan are replaced.  I tried watching Doctor Who when Christopher Eccleston became a Doctor and then when David Tennant became the next Doctor.  And neither hooked me into how fun this series could be, after years of giving the show a try through several changes in Doctors.  But Matt Smith’s youthful energy and Karen Gillan’s beautiful Scot look and comic timing made the series the most enjoyable around, and caused me to go back and finally dig into the series with the two prior Doctors.  And made me a fan.

But the beauty of Doctor Who is the fact that the Doctor regenerates into new people–so the show can go on for generations, as long as new writers can continue to write exciting stories.  I overheard a kid in a local comic store who must have been no older than 13 say “you always remember your first Doctor” and it made me laugh.  He’s probably right.

So what news is true?  The producers of Doctor Who have reported on the official Doctor Who website that the next actress to play the companion to replace Karen Gillan is 25-year-old actress Jenna-Louise Coleman from Blackpool.

Jenna-Louise Coleman–the next Doctor Who companion.

Writer and executive producer Steven Moffat had reported this past Christmas that the Ponds (Amy and hubby Rory) would be leaving.  The website makes clear that Coleman will replace Gillan after one more season with Amy and Rory in the story.  Coleman has had roles on British TV and a small role last year in Captain America: The First Avenger.

Coleman in Captain America: The First Avenger.

The website suggests that the new companion will accompany Matt Smith’s eleventh doctor for 14 episodes in 2013, the 50th anniversary of the series on British TV.  Here is the sneak preview at the new season coming soon to BBC One and BBC America, and HEY!–note that it features a cool cyborg, right out of the movie Westworld:

So that’s the next companion story.  But what about the next Doctor?

The British tabloid the Daily Express, known for sharing rumors, this week claims an insider has disclosed that Matt Smith’s replacement will be the first woman Doctor of the series.  And one of the front runners (again, per the reported rumor) may be a very cool choice, the new Irene Adler in the third season of the Sherlock series, also produced by Doctor Who’s Steven Moffat.  Adler is portrayed by British actress Lara Pulver.  Pulver was a regular on BBC’s Robin Hood series as Isabella, Erin Watts on MI-5, and is currently Claudine Crane on True Blood.  Although this has aleady aired in the UK, here is a preview for U.S. viewers of Pulver as Adler in the new Sherlock (and ignore the reference to Pulver as “naked”–it’s all innuendo with a lot of clever filming):

What is clear from the above clip is that if Pulver can hold her own opposite both Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes (soon to star in the next Star Trek and The Hobbit films) and Martin Freeman’s Dr. John Watson (starring this year in The Hobbit), there is no doubt she would make a great, sassy and smart 12th Doctor in the Doctor Who franchise.  If we’re going to lose Matt Smith–my vote for the best Doctor of all–why not try something really new?

So… new companion?  True.  New Doctor?  Nothing confirmed to report yet.

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